Dirty Sandez

When it comes to giving porn consumers what they want, the creator of Crimson Gash comics refuses to color between the lines

Finally, someone teaches Hitler how to fight a war on two, um, fronts in 'The Crimson Gash' #1

Sandez Rey works in the local cartooning tradition of Charles Schulz (just imagine you're looking at Peppermint Patty and Marcy)


Richard Fleischman

Sandez Rey has a simple formula for his comics: "My approach is, 'Okay, page one, big visual. Page two, blowjob. Page three, some sort of plot. Page four, blowjob.'"

Graphic oral sex is the first thing you notice, thumbing through the work of this 45-year-old Minneapolis artist. That and tits—voluminous, flowing, swaying tits. Only after you start reading do you begin to see the satire in Rey's adult comics. His principal recurring character, the Crimson Gash, wears a leather half-mask, thigh-high boots without pants, and an open top that entirely frees her bosoms. She's usually on her knees, aiding allies in need, or tactically distracting enemies of both sexes.

But she's no submissive. The sardonic "supervixen of south Minneapolis" puts her foot straight through one villain's torso, kicking his beating heart out the back. She repeatedly groins Hitler ("I never thought I'd say this, but I'm getting tired of kicking you in the nuts"). She bends a sexual predator back onto himself, forcing him to eat his own sex. She smashes her own conscience, a version of herself in white, with a boulder.

"I could sell a lot more comics if I drew straight bondage," says Rey, standing in the sunroom of his Powderhorn neighborhood house, where he draws The Crimson Gash and other titles for Eros Comix. "But I can't stand to create female characters and then just abuse them. To me, what's sexy about the female characters that I do is that they're tough, they're amazons. They go out there and they kick guys' asses."

The Crimson Gash has never been punched, kicked, or tied up. She annihilates her opponents before they can lift a finger. "If someone ever does punch the Crimson Gash, it's going to be a big deal," says Rey. "People are going to say, 'Oh my God, that person's really going to get it now.'"

As the artist blurts this, one of his two children calls down from upstairs. Rey steps out of the room and closes the door behind him. "Do you want a cartoon?" I hear him say. "You can have ice cream later if you're good."

On his wooden drawing board is a rough draft of a page from Blowjob #18, forthcoming from Eros in June. It's the first chapter of a saga in which the Gash and her pals explore the "Lost City" of St. Paul, which was nuked by Adolph Hitler in 2005's The Crimson Gash #1 ("Good thing this happened on a Saturday night," says one character, "when it's nearly deserted!").

The first story Rey ever drew for Eros, an "adults only" imprint of Seattle's Fantagraphics Books, follows his personal recipe to a tee, with a helpful note on page three of 2002's Blowjob #2: "To eliminate the plot, fold this page inwards on the center line." Yet any reader skipping this part would miss crucial information, such as the fact that the gorilla being serviced by a jungle girl is actually a man in a gorilla suit. (Wonder if this sop won the endorsement of PETA.)

All of Rey's Blowjob comics are love stories in disguise. Rey's second five-pager for the book, titled "Personnel Allocation Directive #4682559003A Work Sub-Unit 617C," opens with a dystopian office-scape of endless cubicles. One graying female employee, "926B," receives orders to report as "personal assistant" to balding "Chief Petra," a position that requires her to give him—what do you know!—oral sex. "I am just a bureaucrat," he says, looking down on his assigned charge. "This is a military directive. My wants are irrelevant."

"I work for the good of the collective," she says, mournful.

As she takes him up, both characters imagine younger sex partners, and she pictures her youthful self. Still, her skills are enough to bring him to a sweat. Afterward, she says, "Making coffee is one thing I do better than any twenty-year-old girl!"

"Not 'one thing,' worker," he says. "The other thing."

When Rey returns to his room, the towering, bespectacled father becomes a boy again, describing his newest Blowjob story with mischievous glee. Set in a nuked St. Paul, this one contains the origin of the Radioactive Kid, who discovered his superpower only after accidentally melting his girlfriend's brain during fellatio. He meets Robot Jungle Girl, who, as fate would have it, runs off radioactive waste.

"She's a robot, but even a robot can figure this one out," says Rey, barely able to get the words out fast enough. "She's like, 'Be my boyfriend forever, I love you. Give me all of your ejaculations.' So there'll be two pages of blowjobs in a five-page story, and still a lot of other crap crammed in."

Rey, who prefers not to be identified by his real name, crams more than the usual amount of information into his comics. Only this artist would interrupt the destruction of California by giant turtles—in one of his early, pre-porn superhero stories—with a speech about jury nullification. A conversation with Rey is similarly fervent and full of tangents. After splashing some Bushmills in his morning coffee, he's eager to tell his story.

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